Posts Tagged ‘Boris’

Forget a referendum re-run. But another Europe referendum with a different question is inevitable

28/06/2016, 10:00:51 PM

by Dan Cooke

At the time of writing there are over 3 million signatories. In coming days it will probably continue to climb. But however many people eventually sign the petition for a referendum re-run it can only be an exercise in frustrated misdirection. The Leave vote creates a new political reality which only a time machine could undo and no democrat can ignore.

Yet, as we search for a path forward, it will become increasingly clear that the public does have to be consulted again before Britain finalises its exit from the EU – and that another referendum to approve or reject the terms of exit is the right way to do so.  For Labour, even if it succeeds in electing a new leader, an explicit commitment to such a referendum in its manifesto for any snap election will probably be the only way it can build a national coalition of support. This means taking the position that Brexit is not inevitable because if exit terms are not approved the logical consequence is that Britain remains in the EU.

The key to understanding the referendum’s chaotic aftermath (and probably the result itself) is the false choice it presented between a known and unloved status quo and amorphous alternative that the Leave campaign skilfully preserved from any concrete definition. Only now is there beginning to be serious scrutiny of the real alternatives available, ranging from membership outside the EU of the European Economic Area or “EEA”, allowing Britain to preserve most Single Market rights, to a range of essentially theoretical alternatives that are only beginning to be sketched out.

Unsurprisingly, a dividing line is already beginning to crystallise around those (in both the Remain and Leave camps, and in all parties) who favour the EEA option and those who see it as inadequate.


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20 minutes is too long without my smartphone

04/04/2011, 07:00:56 AM

by Sally Bercow

Not being a sporty sort, the most exciting thing I’d read about the Olympics – by far – was that they would usher in the use of mobile phones on the London Underground. Hurrah ­– an end to the frustration of losing my signal every time I take the tube. I’ll soon be able to tweet and text as I trundle round the Circle. I shall do my Ocado shop from the (relative) comfort of the Jubilee line. No more shall I have to time my tube journeys around people who (allegedly) only have 10 minute “windows” to take calls in their frightfully high-powered days.

And then Boris goes and announces last week that the project to install an underground 3G network has been shelved, at least for now. It seems that it’s too technically complex to complete in time for the Olympics and some reports suggest there was a ding-dong over funding (the mobile networks and the Chinese telecoms company huawei had been expected to pick up the tab, estimated at around £100 million).

I was gutted. By any standard, it’s a crushing blow. How are we meant to morph into David Cameron’s “nation of entrepreneurs” if we can’t even do business on the run, for goodness sake? Mobiles on the tube will boost London’s economy. How much harder will it be to “drive growth” if you can’t stay in range and in touch with the world 24/7? Just think how useful it would be to text your clients and reassure them that, ever the true professional, you are en route but hampered by signalling problems. Other cities – Paris, Hong Kong, Barcelona – have sorted it, why is London such a dinosaur? Never mind the much-maligned civil service, the tube is a strong contender for the “enemy of enterprise” crown. (more…)

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